So today I am going to do something entirely different.
I want to tell you about my Dad.
My mother was very young when I was born, and unfortunately, that marriage did not work very well for her. I have never really gone into it with her, to be honest it really isn’t any of my business. In my earliest years, I didn’t really have a father. Yes, there was mom’s second husband, but my only memories of him near the diabolical. What can I say, bad memories seem to stick better than good ones.
My real father never really wanted anything to do with me. While I did not really understand when I was young, now as a man I see things much clearer. I did a lot of stupid things when I was 18, and I’m not sure I would want a living reminder of my mistakes and heartaches walking around to bother me either. I’m not saying it is excusable, I’m just saying I understand.
In walks my father. He was my mom’s high school sweetheart, and he never stopped loving my mother. He kept conversation with her though all the stupid stuff I just talked about, seemingly waiting. I’m not sure he ever bothered with another girl, instead he contented himself to work hard on his photography, rode his bicycle across the country, and basically had every adventure he could come up with. I was going into kindergarten when I met him for the first time.
Papa is a red headed, fully bearded man. (Mom won’t let him shave, he looks too young!) He is well built, but not like a truck. He is the single funniest man I have ever met, and the only way to get him to stop making jokes is to get him talking about politics. He laughs all the time. He has never in my entire life yelled at me, not to say he hasn’t been angry, but he was always in control.
Papa is one of the best friends I have ever had. It’s not just that he is my father, or that he chose to be my father when my father left me. It’s not only because he took me to boy scout camp outs and made me eat the weird food my grandmother would cook. It is because he can listen.
Let me put it like this. When I was a kid, every morning we would wake up to NPR. Now NPR is a radio station with a rather liberal slant, and that makes sense, as he was liberal. But he really listened. In the listening, we was able to be open minded enough to see that the conservative view had some serious points, and over time has changed his views.
You see, he is not stuck in a mental rut. I’m not saying that it is better to be conservative than liberal. All I am saying is my father can think, and think very well. When I speak to him, he really tries to understand what I am saying, and what better friend is there than one who will listen to what you have to say with honest ears, and give you honest feedback?
He works hard, to the wee hours of the night. He is loyal to a fault. He makes farting jokes with my children, and they still love to sit in his lap even though they are moving into their teens. He takes care of his aging mother, going up to her house every morning to make sure she has breakfast. He plays a mean harmonica, and plays it in his band every weekend. His photography is some of the best I have ever seen, and if you want to see how amazing his graphic art skills are, just look at my header. I asked him for it one night, and he stayed up till 2:00 in the morning to make sure it looked great. And to this day, every time we talk on the phone, he never forgets to tell me he loves me.
I could spend five hours and fifty pages and not begin to tell you how much I love and respect Papa. So I will just say this. He may not be Catholic, but he is what a saint looks like. I pray that I grow to become more like him every day of my life.
Heck, we even wear the same hat. I love you Papa.